BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- With one more day remaining in the NCAA Division II men’s swimming and diving competition at the CrossPlex Natatorium, the Drury Panthers have their record-setting ninth consecutive NCAA title well in its sights.

With 398 points, Drury has opened a more than 100 point gap on the rest of the field. Florida Southern is in second with 274 points, while Incarnate Word is nipping at its heels with 272 points. With 260 points, Grand Canyon is in fourth place and Wayne State rounds out the top five teams with 236 points.

In the night’s opening race, the 500 freestyle, Nova Southeastern’s Oskar Nordstrand pulled away for the victory as he finished in a time of 4:23.55, while Mark Rubin of Incarnate Word was second in 4:25.55 and Bradley Strathmeyer of West Chester placed third in 4:24.74.

Bridgeport senior Oscar Pereiro became the third person to win the 100 backstroke four years in a row. He won in a time of 47.04 seconds, while Drury’s Daniel Swietlicki finished second in 47.58 and Florida Southern’s Jeffrey Halfacre was third in 47.70.

In the 100 breaststroke, it was a senior sweep, including the event winner Eetu Karvonen of Grand Canyon. Karvonen won in 52.65 seconds, while Wingate’s Rory Julyan was second in 52.98 and Florida Southern’s Miguel Ferreira was third in 52.31.

UC San Diego’s Dane Stassi won the national title in the 200 butterfly in a time of 1:45.12. Incarnate Word’s Evandro Silva was the runner-up in 1:47.16 and Grand Canyon’s Ivan Nechunaev was third in 1:47.35.

In the 1-meter diving competition, Wayne State’s Dylan Szegedi had a dramatic win as he nailed his final dive to finish with 529.65 points, enabling him to hold off St. Cloud State’s Luke Weber, who had 526.70. Clarion’s Justin Duncan was third with 514.80 points.

In the final event of the day, Drury’s team of Artur Dilman, Igor Kowal, Olexandr Padalkin and Vladimir Sidorkin pulled away to win the 800 freestyle relay in 6:29.82. Florida Southern finished second in 6:32.57 and Wingate was third in 6:35.24.

“I am just really proud of our team,” Drury head coach Brian Reynolds said. “We had some brilliant performances. In the 100 back we had three guys finish in the top eight and all three broke the school record in doing so. And in the final relay they had a great race and I know the guys wanted that one because they lost so close in that same relay last year.”